The life of Jill Biden, an educator who worked full-time while Joe Biden was Vice President, defends him from protesters and is a crucial part of his 2020 campaign.
Joe Biden's presidential campaign has gained dramatic momentum in recent weeks, with the former Vice President securing the votes needed to capture the Democratic nomination for president. In the wake of Coronavirus fears and Black Lives Matter protests after the killing of George Floyd, his messages and appearances have calmed and comforted. As a result, his poll numbers are climbing.
One person in his campaign has come out as one of his most forceful surrogates: his wife, Dr. Jill Biden. She has campaigned tirelessly alongside him throughout the 2020 election season and stood by him throughout his decades-long political career.
She also maintained her job as an English teacher throughout his tenure as Vice President, becoming the first Second Lady to work full-time while also serving alongside her husband.
The Bidens, who have been married for 43 years, have also endured a series of highs and lows, from his vice presidency to the 2015 death of her stepson, Beau Biden.
Jill’s drive dates back to her early years in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. When she was 15, she started her first job as a waitress. "From an early age, I knew I wanted my own money, my own identity, my own career," she told Vogue.
She was set up on a blind date with Joe Biden by his brother, Frank. "The guys I had dated (wore) bell bottoms and clogs. When Joe showed up at my door, I took one look at his perfect suit and his leather loafers, and I thought, 'Thank God it's only one date.'" But when the date was over, she had changed her mind drastically, telling her mother: "Mom, I finally met a gentleman.”
Joe was nine years older than her, with two living children from a previous marriage. He proposed to her five times before she accepted. "By that time, of course, I had fallen in love with (his) boys, and I really felt that this marriage had to work. Because they had lost their (birth) mom, and I couldn't have them lose another mother," Jill recalled.
Jill continued to work full-time, taking only two years off at one point to care for their burgeoning family. She remained largely uninterested in the politics of Joe’s job until 2004. Her strong opposition to the Iraq War led her to urge Joe to seek the presidential nomination again. In 2008, she took on a more public role alongside Michelle Obama, to campaign for the Obama-Biden ticket. Following the election and her assumption of the title Second Lady, she continued to teach full-time, becoming the first full-time working Second Lady in history.
The loss of her stepson Beau in 2015 was devastating for Jill, who said later: "My life changed in an instant. All during his illness, I truly believed he was going to live, up until the moment that he closed his eyes, and I just never gave up hope."
Beau's death led Joe to announce that he was not going to run for the 2016 presidential election. Jill stood by his side when he made that announcement at the White House in October 2015.
But when he decided to run in 2020, it was much to do with Jill. According to The New York Times, she was "enthusiastically" in favor of his decision. Since then, she has tirelessly campaigned for her husband, even pulling out of her teaching responsibilities temporarily to do so. Sometimes Jill even takes on more commitments than her husband, throwing fundraisers, parades or even house parties.
But throughout the race, the Bidens have demonstrated a united front, and Joe looks to his wife to keep him going. his 2020 campaign.